As both DIA chief executive and current chair of the National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP), I thought an update on the key industry issues we are currently raising with the government and trying to get resolution on would be timely.
You’ll have read this month of NASP’s frustration at the continuing closure of test centre waiting rooms. We’ve raised the issue frequently, and asked for a clearer line of sight on when waiting rooms may reopen, as trainers are already starting to be left out in the cold as autumn arrives.
It is notable that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also written to DVSA highlighting that the failure to provide adequate sanitary facilities and waiting spaces to customers (and what HSE deems as ‘workers’ in this context, trainers) is contrary to health and safety legislation and regulation.
DVSA has maintained to date that it is difficult to open waiting rooms across the board due to the challenges of ensuring social distancing and need to limit exposure for all users to COVID-19, staffing challenges, and the issue at some test centres that waiting rooms are being pressed into service as extra office space to allow staff to socially distance.
The regulator maintains it is continuing discussions with HSE about the use of waiting rooms for driving instructors. We will continue to press the agency on this important issue which has the potential to impact the health and welfare of trainers across the board, even in the context of the decision to keep waiting rooms closed being made for health and safety reasons.
Each week (and often daily), as the first tier stakeholder to DVSA for the industry – and other government agencies whose work impacts our members – we also upload many questions and queries and seek clarification on other key issues. From the ongoing pain that is the online booking system, to the lack of capacity for testing to meet demand (thousands more slots have been released this month but demand will soon burn through those and what about when we get to January?) to what’s happening with ADI and PDI assessments in the face of COVID. Please be reassured – you ask us, it goes on our list and is chased up regularly, even if we don’t get the answers we want in the timescale we want.
The other big issue of concern that I’m both proposing solutions and seeking government focus on, is what financial support measures can be put in place to support trainers who may have to isolate due to test and trace, as well as those in locked down areas and what happens if we have another national lockdown.
On DIA’s YouTube channel and on the news section of driving.org we talk about a few regional funds that are in existence to help out, but we continue to press central government for better support for this very income vulnerable profession in what are very challenging times. We’ll keep you updated on what we learn, and achieve, on your behalf.
We hope members will be keen to get involved in the research, and we’re excited at the opportunity to work with trainers and pupils at the coalface of driver education to improve the impact of driver training on road safety outcomes.
Keep talking to us and we’ll do our very best to keep supporting you.
Source: ADI News
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